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Dirt Trails & Pony Tails 8K Race Report

Since I’m keeping my running to shorter distances, I’m checking out local races that are shorter than I am accustomed to running.  Trailhead Running has a women’s only trail series and I took a DNS on the half marathon.  This year I decided to try out the first race and hoped for good weather since I recalled it raining the day before the race last year.

The starts at Austin Ridge Church and I was impressed with the venue and the technical trails right behind the church.  Race organization was superb – parking and bib pick up were a breeze and the course was extremely well-marked with volunteers at various points of the course.  Trailhead Running promotes leaving no trace behind and that was evident in the course being cupless and their having reusable bibs (that’s a first for me!).

I lined up near the front but had no desire to run fast given the course conditions – wet and slippery.  About a half mile in, I went the wrong way for a couple of steps and, by the time, I turned around, a bunch of runners were in front of me.  Seeing how rocky and slick the course was, I decided to hang back and run slowly.  I did regret that when I found climbing slow harder but felt it was a good thing for the first loop given my knack for twisting ankles.  The hill advertised in the race description was extremely technical and more challenging that I expected and the descent was super slick– thank goodness they actually marked one of the downward sloping slick rocks with an X.

The 8k was two loops of the main course and I decided to pick up the pace and pass people on the wider sections.  The race directors had reminded us that the finish was uphill and to save something for that.  My legs are used to uphills from CA and our neighborhood and I used the final stretches to pick up the pace.  After crossing the finish line, I received a commemorative pint glass as a finisher’s “medal.”

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Long sleeve T and pint glass

Overall, I was impressed with the race and loved the atmosphere.  Post-race food selections was fantastic for any race but especially for a small trail race.  I will definitely run another one of their races!

Tejas Trails Paleface 5K Race Report

Howdy everyone!  The 2016 Paleface 2 5K was the second Tejas Trails race I’ve run since moving here.  My last one was super well-organized, so I could not resist signing up for their race at Pace Bend Park and inviting my husband to join me.  I really wanted to run farther than 5K but I’m still limiting my running due to trying to get pregnant and my husband was not up for more than 5K.

The race venue was less than 5 miles from home (super convenient!) and I picked up our bibs and race shirts (very nice dry fit tanks) the night before.  I chatted with the RD and resisted the temptation to switch to the half marathon.

I ran part of the trails at the park earlier in the year and vaguely recalled typical Austin-area trails: rocky, some roots, and flat.  I’m very cautious on rocky terrain, so my plan was to go out and run easy.  I ran 6 miles the day before the race and, since that’s my average longer run nowadays, I thought my legs would take some time to warm up.

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Pre-race picture w/gorgeous scenery- this place never gets old!

The field was small and I lined up near the front and parted ways with my hubby right before the RD told us to go.  I love low-key trail races — no big fuss, just 3-2-1-go!  The first mile was rocky and I ran carefully and happily let people pass me.

With less than a mile to go, I gained on a father and kid as they passed who I thought could be the female leader.  Still being cautious on the rocky course, I followed suit and passed her.  As I crossed the finish line, I found out I was the female winner — gotta love a small race!

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Really nice medal & cool trophy

I picked out my “trophy” and waited for Alan to cross the finish line; I was very proud of how he did since he has not run trails in ages.  It was a great start to the morning and weekend!  As always, Tejas Trails put on a well-organized race with a cool race vibe.  I look forward to the next one.

Running in TX summers

This has been our first full summer in Texas and Texas heat is no joke.   Even the mornings are much warmer and more humid than CA, so it has been an adjustment.  Gone are the days of sleeping in and going for runs after work; that is the hottest part of the day here!

How have I survived?

  • My mileage is lower than when I was running marathons and ultras.  That is predominantly due to dealing with niggles for which root causes have finally been figured out and my focusing more on getting pregnant than running long.  It means less time outside since my “long runs” are not very long.
  • Running early in the morning.  My goal is to be out the door around 6:30am (depending on distance of run) and done running before the sun is out in full force.  Last weekend I thought it was cooling down and clouds were rolling in, so I ventured outside in the late afternoon; that was a huge mistake that my bottle of ice water did not help enough with.
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Cloud cover briefly — water in TX at this time of year is unheard of!

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Red faced and delirious after running when heat index was in 100s!

  • Hitting the treadmill.  When we were house hunting, a requirement was space for a treadmill.  I opted for one slightly more expensive than my initial budget and it’s been worth every penny.  I have slept in a few times knowing I could get my run in later in the day indoors.  Added perk — My husband is running again!  The couple that runs together stays together!
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No excuses for not running on hot days!

  • Running in a sports bra.  I have always been self-conscious of running without a shirt over it but the humidity makes me forget all that.  As long as I’m out the door early, I skip the T-shirt and avoid a sweat drenched shirt weighing me down.  I don’t know if it actually helps keep me cooler but mentally it does and it’s all that matters.
  • Staying hydrated!  Water, water, water.  It’s also important to make sure you have enough salt in your diet to balance that out.  Most people get more than enough in their diets, but if you do not eat out or eat processed foods, you may not get enough salt.

It’s going to be a hot Labor Day weekend here.  I will definitely be sticking to my survival plan for running in the heat!

Firecracker 5K Race Report – Surprise AG win!

This is a late post but it’s been a crazy week.  I hope you had a fantastic Independence Day weekend!  We spent last weekend doing more things around the house (ie. buying more stuff like a grill) and doing yardwork.  But we also enjoyed relaxing, watching “Finding Dory” and continuing our tradition of running a 4th of July race.

The race options here are more limited since the area is smaller than Orange County.  We chose the Lago Vista Firecracker 5K since it was on July 2nd and I needed a distraction from thinking of the significance of the date.

The drive there was about an hour and it was a good chance to see the other side of the lake and explore more of the area.  Parking was right along the banks of the lake and we quickly realized it was a smaller race than the one we did in CA.  Packet pick up was a breeze and we dropped our our stuff at the car and hung out near the race start.

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Beautiful view of Lake Travis at the park near start/finish

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Pre-race selfie with my hubby

 

I quickly spotted a couple people warming up who looked “fast” and the competitive part of me could not resist sizing up the field– despite my glute feeling achey and zero fast running in months.  Alan encouraged me to “race” and I said I was going to take it easy.  It was already hot and humid and I do not run short distances well.

Sticking to my plan, I took the first mile easy and noticed I was passing people on the slight uphills.  I spotted a couple of women in front of me and I realized I was gaining ground on them.  On an uphill around mile two, I passed them and that gave me the encouragement I needed to keep a steady pace.  With less than a half mile to go, I passed a teenage girl and expected to see her fly past me in the finishing stretch.

To my surprise, I held on and finished in 23:29 –much better than expected.  Checking my Garmin post-race, I was happy to see I picked up my pace as the race progressed.

I walked back on the course until I saw Alan and I ran with him to the finish line; he finished in 28:30 — great time for not having run in about 6 months!

I checked the final results after realizing there were few female runners in the finish line area.  I saw that I was first in my age group (30-39) and 4th overall female, so we decided to wait for the awards ceremony.  Thankfully we did because I won a $20 gift certificate to Rogue Running!

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Posing with my medal and g.c.

I love racing and pushing myself and I was thankful my hip/glute cooperated; PT is paying off!

 

Loving our new house!

Last week we became homeowners!  Six months ago, my husband and I suffered a devastating loss and last week we opened a new chapter in our lives with the keys to our new home.  I thank God for getting us through the tough times and I am so grateful and thankful that we are blessed with the chance to be homeowners!

I realized that the date we closed on our house was exactly 8 years after the last time I heard my dad’s voice.  I know he would be very happy for us and I am grateful that my mom will be here in a few weeks to see the house.  We left CA in order to be in a better place financially and the lower cost of living here made buying a house (impossible in CA for us) possible here.

I am adjusting to living in a serene area and having to “drive into town” to grocery shop and run errands.  But it is worth it since I feel much more relaxed than I did living in the hustle and bustle of Orange County, CA.   Even the deer move at a slower pace and lounge in our yards.

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I love seeing the “Bambis” running through the neighborhood!

Serving with Mobile Loaves and Fishes

One of my goals for the year was to get involved in giving back to the community.  I have always felt compassion for the homeless and impoverished.  When I taught in LA county, my heart broke for students living in poverty, not knowing if they would have food to eat at home.  Austin has a large homeless and transitioning population and, moving here, I knew I wanted to get involved in serving that population.

Our church, Lake Hills, partners with Mobile Loaves and Fishes to send out trucks providing food, clothing and personal items with dignity to the homeless and impoverished around the area.  My husband and I did training for it early this year and our trip out on the truck was eye-opening and made serving more important to us.  Once a month, we spend 1-2 hours preparing sandwiches and prepping the trucks with donated food and clothing.

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Last week, a few members of our life group met to serve and it was an incredible experience.  We visited a couple of places where the majority of those we served were children and elderly.  We fed people who told us they had no food in their apartments and did not know when their next meal would be.  I had flashbacks to my teaching days and recalled the conditions in which many of my students lived and how important giving them hope for a world beyond their was.

It is easy to take things for granted and that evening was a reminder of why taking a few hours out of my week to help others is so important.

Memorial Day weekend – eating, boating, reading

Howdy!  This long weekend we made the best of the closing date on our house being pushed back and spending more time at the lakefront rental.  Since I’m not running much and doing fewer intense HIT, lower body workouts, I am very antsy.  The goal for the weekend was to spend time exploring the area—enjoying freedoms we have thanks to those who serve and served our country.  It turned into a food and wine , boating and lots of reading kind of weekend– something much needed!

Friday night we decided to check out Briarcliff Bistro and Bacon Bar.  I knew my food options would be super limited but knew my hubby wanted to check it out…their menu is definitely not my cup of tea and, when we decided to stay for a drink to listen to the local band perform, I settled on a piece of chocolate cake for dinner.  Who can say no to chocolate?!  The band featured a local high school kid and he is definitely talented; check out the Innate Space Youtube channel for a glimpse at this local talent.

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Chocolate cake — good but not best dinner choice

Saturday I ventured out for a run and 40 minutes with a couple of steep hill climbs felt good but I am still feeling a constant aching in my glute and hip flexor. 😦  Post-run was the perfect time for a brunch indulgence.  For the past few weeks, I craved a pancake (yes, 1…the size of a plate!) from Pacha Cafe, my favorite restaurant in Austin.  Their food is sourced locally and is almost 100% organic — a rare find!  The 60 minute roundtrip drive and 30 minute wait for food was well worth it.

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To die for pancake with scrambled eggs and my hubby’s potato hash

Saturday night we planned on checking out another local place for music but that changed when the owner of our rental knocked on our door and invited us out on his boat.  When invited boating, the answer is always yes!  My only regret was that we did not take our phones or camera–even the walk down the stairs to the boat slip was stunning.  The rain clouds had cleared out making it a gorgeous early evening and he gave us a tour of the area.  I learned a lot about the area and soaked in the sights of the cliffs and gaped at ginormous mansions dotting the cliffs.

Sunday we attended church and went grocery shopping.  I wanted to visit a local winery, Stone House Vineyard, that our host pointed out the night prior since it was only a 15 minute drive.  It’s rare for Austin to have temps only in the 80s in May and it was a perfect time to see more of the area.  After splitting a wine tasting, we got a glass of wine and sat outside enjoying the spectacular views of the water.

Sunday evening we went out for dinner; I wanted something healthy and enjoyed a huge salad at The Grove Wine Bar.  It was a beautiful evening and we sat on the patio and soaked in the view that has yet to get old.

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My spinach quinoa salad and hubby’s Asian chicken salad- yummy!

Memorial Day my hubby was in charge of dinner.  We cooked a healthy grilled dinner (well, healthy except for indulging in portion sizes) of wild caught salmon, apple chicken sausage, zucchini, onion, eggplant.  I love finding locally grown organic veggies this time of year at Whole Foods since making it to the farmer’s market does not happen often.  I picked up a bottle of organic white wine sangria and it was the perfect compliment to the meal.

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When not exploring the area and eating, I read.  It’s a blessing and a curse that I read novels fast.  I am old-school and prefer the feel of an actual book in my hands as opposed to e-books but we have no space to collect more books.  Luckily, I love the Kindle app so that I can read download free books and check out new authors.  This weekend, I downloaded lots of free ones on Amazon and one free one sucked me into the Dare River series by Ava Miles.  I read three in that series this weekend and look forward to reading more by her since they are easy, summery reads.

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

 

Exercising while traveling

Last year I traveled frequently with frequent work trips and personal trips to visit family.  This year, I am revisiting how exercise fits in with travel.

I typically run while traveling but I often skip yoga or other cross training.  Sticking to a plan is hard and I have never accomplished that– even when I thought I would.  One goal for this year is to include cross training when I travel for multiple days.

When I visit my family, I often run but cut back the mileage to spend more time with them or catch up on sleep!   When I was training for big races, I was better about sticking to a plan.  Now that I am not “racing,” I play it by ear.

During my last vacation, I was torn between working out and skipping my workouts.  By the end of the vacation, I enjoyed my time on the treadmill; I keep safety in mind when traveling and a treadmill was the safest and easiest way for me to get in my runs.  Since I overindulged in food and drinks, the runs made me feel less bloated.  I took advantage of the huge deck for getting in 10 minute power yoga sessions; I also took advantage of the daily free yoga classes.

When traveling for work, I hit the treadmill or do a HIT workout or similar in the hotel room.  It is hard to wake up at 5am to work out, especially if I travel to different time zones, but I feel much more relaxed and productive.

Questions:
Do you skip working out while traveling or on vacation?  Do you stick to your normal routine?  Or do you work out if it fits in your schedule?

Moving while not running

I hope y’all are having a great week!  Despite all the craziness going on in mine, I’m having a great one.

Normally not running drives me crazy but I’m coping well right now.  A few weeks ago, I felt an issue in my hip similar to what sidelined me a few years ago; I immediately stopped running and found a place that specializes in treating runners – RunLab.  I continued cross-training (21 day Fix Extreme and PiYo workouts are now a staple) since it did not make me feel more pain.  I was impressed with Doctor Kim Davis and her staff.  She pinpointed things about my body’s structure that could be why I get injured frequently.  I’m now going 2x/week for soft tissue work and strengthening exercise.

Not running is overshadowed by being in the midst of buying our first home.  All the craziness associated with that plus recent travel to Memphis and LA have been great distractions from a forced break from running.

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Seeing my nephew graduate made not running that weekend much easier!

We had to move out of our apartment the middle of this month and we are not scheduled to close on our house until May 31st.  I’m thankful it’s been rainy (yay for cooler temps and a full lake) but it’s making finishing the house hard for the builder.

So until our house is done, the majority of our belongings are in storage and the rest are with us in a vacation rental.  I totally lucked out finding a place right on the water for super cheap compared to a short-term apartment rental or a hotel.  Sitting on the patio overlooking the water is not a bad way to spend our evenings.  We are eager to move into our house but beyond thankful for having a place to stay where we have space for me to work, workout, lounge, cook, acclimate to living out in the country.

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Weekend Wrapup

Weekends fly by and I try and savor every moment.  This weekend was no exception as I avoiding packing/preparing to move and enjoyed the good weather.

Friday night I took advantage of my hubby getting home late from work to spend minimal time cooking (frozen veggie burger patty to the rescue!) and more time relaxing knitting and watching tv.  I worked a little later than normal for a Friday but ended the week feeling as caught up as possible–that makes for a better Monday morning!  These gluten-free, vegetarian burger patties by Don Lee Farms and purchased from Costco are super tasty served open face on a piece of wheat bread topped with loads of spinach and onion.

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Saturday was date day and, after sleeping in until 8am, we ventured to Cedar Park to use our Groupon for the Texas Museum of Science and Technology.  It’s a very small, relatively new museum that plans for a permanent facility to be built by 2020; we wanted a show in the planetarium and enjoyed the hands on exhibits.  Since it was super cheap thanks to Groupon and we had fun, I consider it well worth the cost.  Thanks again Groupon for helping us explore the Austin area!

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Near the entrance- I love pi!

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Hubby playing with the theremin– he said only a nerd would get excited seeing a thermin (and know how to play it)

Any time we are in the northern Austin area, we make sure we are hungry so that we can eat at our favorite pizza place — Promise Pizza.  The one in Round Rock is better than the other one and we take advantage of their special of purchasing large pizzas and getting a free small one topping pizza.  I get the Nature’s Choice on wheat crust with spinach instead of olives and hubby gets the BBQ chicken and we get a free mushroom on wheat crust.  I love that they use organic ingredients and the pizza has just enough cheese to taste yummy but not to be greasy.

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Nature’s Choice— so delish that I could not take time time for a good picture!

Hubby wanted a smoothie so we stopped by Whole Foods on our way home and that’s when I made a major mistake of getting a coffee drink at 4pm.  Sunday I was supposed to do the 2nd race in the Rogue Trail Series and that meant needing to wake up by 5am.  My hip and glute had been acting up all week and I already had my mind set on seeing if I could drop to the 10K instead of the 30K.  Thanks to the late coffee drink I never really fell asleep.  Since I did not feel comfortable driving to the middle of nowhere at 5am seeing if I could drop to the 10K, I decided to skip the race;  my glute was hurting and tossing and turning all night made me feel crappy so I decided a DNS (do nothing stupid) was my best bet; I suck at running on rocks when well rested and I had thoughts going through my head of what could happen with being sleep deprived and with glute discomfort.

We went to church at Lake Hills Church like we normally do on Sunday mornings and then I did an easy 10K on roads since my glute seemed better– tomorrow will show if I need to find a good sports massage therapist or if rolling around on my therapy ball is sufficient.  I took care of a few tasks for work and chilled on the patio for a lazy Sunday end to the weekend.

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